These top ten tips from arable & forage managers; Dr Simon Pope (Agronomy), Dave Mitchell (Fertiliser) and Adam Simper (Seed) will help you to maximise on-farm margins from grassland forage in 2018.
Testing your soil
First and foremost, before drilling a new ley, you need to understand the nutritional picture of the field. It’s also fundamentally important to check that your pH is at the right level
Reseeding 15% of your grassland per year
By reseeding 15% of your grassland each year, within six years you will have the latest, modern grass varieties available. This will ensure the quality of your forage is maintained. Within five years, weed grasses will have ingressed into the sward which will reduce productivity and quality
Selecting the right grass mixture
There can be considerable differences in the quality of mixture ranges available in the market. This depends heavily on the species used and which varieties are then selected.
Choose a mixture that only contains grasses which are on the Recommended List and make sure the mixture suits your needs
Treat your grassland like an arable crop
When creating your nutritional programme, make sure you are investing the right nutrients to ensure each field produces the highest yields and quality grass. It is also beneficial to monitor these investments along the way. For example, carrying-out leaf analysis tests during the growing season will provide you with the necessary information to make accurate and cost-effective decisions
Watch out for sulphur deficiency
We’re seeing more commonly that grass grown for silage is particularly prone to sulphur deficiency. Carry out a grass leaf analysis to monitor your sulphur levels
Early weed control is key
Get weeds under control while they’re seedlings (4-6 leaves), to give the new ley a clean start and remove weed competition which can result in gappy swards. It’s a waste of resources growing weeds!
Order additive early
Using the right silage additive will help maintain silage quality and reduce spoilage losses. Order your additive early to make sure it is on-farm, ready for optimum cutting conditions
Follow Volac’s ‘Cut to Clamp’ guidelines
‘Cut to Clamp’ offers top tips for retaining silage quality from cutting to feed-out Read more at: www.cuttoclamp.com
Measure, monitor and test
Accurate measurements of grass growth rates and density will help you to make the best decisions when utilising pasture. Additionally, analysing silage will ensure you have all the nutritional information necessary for adding your grass silage to the ration
Make a pre-season plan to make sure your grassland management details are pencilled in
Call 01939 210555 for specialist advice on grassland management.
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